- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 12, 2006

DETROIT (AP) — Proof, a member of rap group D12 and a close friend of Eminem’s, was fatally shot early yesterday at a nightclub along Eight Mile, the road made famous by the 2002 film that starred Eminem and in which Proof had a bit part.

The death of Proof — real name Deshaun Holton — was confirmed by Dennis Dennehy, the publicist for D12’s label, Interscope Records, as well as by Detroit police spokesman James Tate.

“Memorial service arrangements are still being made, and his friends and family would appreciate privacy during this difficult time,” Mr. Dennehy said.

Eminem and Proof, 32, seldom were seen in public without each other. Proof was the best man at Eminem’s wedding in January, and they have been close friends since before Eminem became a star.

The music video for the Eminem song “Like Toy Soldiers” shows Eminem pacing a hospital hallway as doctors try to revive Proof, who has been shot. Later, Eminem attends Proof’s funeral as the song’s lyrics lament the escalation in violence between rappers.

It was Proof’s idea to form D12, a six-member Detroit-based rap group that counts Eminem among its members.

D12 has been around since the mid-1990s, when the members met at Detroit’s Hip-Hop Shop, a clothing store by day and hip-hop club by night.

Proof’s family members gathered at a home on Detroit’s northwest side after hearing the news of his death. The residential street in front of the two-story home was lined with vehicles, and people hugged one another on the sidewalk.

Proof was shot inside a small bar in a strip of businesses along Eight Mile, which is the dividing line between Detroit and its northern suburbs.

Mr. Tate, the police spokesman, said two persons were shot in the head — one fatally. He said an argument at the C.C.C. nightclub escalated into gunshots. The other victim — a 35-year-old man — was listed in critical condition, Mr. Tate said.

Wende Berry, a spokeswoman for St. John Health System, said Proof was dead of a gunshot wound on arrival at St. John Conner Creek, an outpatient treatment facility.

Police said shots were fired inside the bar about 4:30 a.m. By the time officers arrived, both of the injured men had been taken from the bar in private vehicles, Mr. Tate said.

Evidence technicians and detectives remained inside the bar yesterday morning. A spot of blood was on the street in front of the tavern, and police marked shell casings in a parking lot across the street.

Patrol officers said the bar is a frequent source of problems on the city’s East Side. Mr. Tate said police have taken 18 incident reports there since 1996.

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